Whether you’re trying to convince your spouse or a friend, or you just want have an answer for someone who asks, here are 21 reasons why deer hunting is awesome!
We all know why we love to hunt but here are 21 more reasons.
1. Organic, hormone-free food
Knowing where your meat comes from is necessary these days. And knowing that deer meat is cleaner and healthier than any plastic-and-styrofoam wrapped, grocery store piece of meat shipped in from who-knows-where is a feeling that can’t be beat.
2. Deer lead good, natural lives
Unlike the miserable existence that factory farmed animals live to provide us with meat for the table, deer live lives that are completely wild and free, the way nature intended.
And when your bullet or arrow takes that deer, it’s great to know that its life ended in a merciful, ethical and far more painless way than nature herself would have given it.
As a hunter you are directly responsible for the health and population stability of the deer herd.
Your role is essential to maintaining balanced wildlife populations and ensuring that wildlife habitat remains a top priority in this country. Thank you!
4. Nature lessons
As a hunter you know more about nature and the circle of life than most non-hunters will ever know.
Your understanding and experiences in wild places are real-world education that even a college degree can’t offer. Nothing – nothing – connects you to the natural world as intimately, directly and deeply as does hunting.
Not photography, not hiking, not camping. In everything else we are, at best, observers. As hunters we are direct and intimate participants.
A person might, for example, know about and appreciate football by watching the game from the stands. But that person will never truly know football until he or she has played the game themselves.
5. Health benefits of getting outside
Hunting is not easy. It requires that you be in at least good enough shape to trek through forests, over streams, and across fields, all while carrying the weight of a gun or bow and a pack.
There’s no exercise like dragging a deer out of the backcountry. These days many hunters consider themselves athletes.
6. Stress reduction in woods/nature
Studies have shown that simply walking in the woods stimulates bodily processes and chemicals that reduce stress levels.
A ten-minute leisurely walk in nature is understood to immediately lower stress, blood pressure and anxiety.
Imagine what an all-day immersion in nature must do. It’s a surprise that most hunters aren’t floating by day’s end (many would argue that they actually are floating).
7. Time alone
This one might connect to stress reduction as well. But in addition to that, time alone is often a precious commodity for many people these days.
So many folks feel overwhelmed by the demands of time and relationships at home and work. A few hours alone in a treestand is a priceless commodity.
What a great place to clear your head, reconnect with yourself or simply daydream. When was the last time you just got to daydream for any length of time?
8. Quality time with family
While you’re actual hunting time may be spent mostly alone – unless you’re hunting with a partner or drive hunting – hunting season offers many families a wonderful opportunity to bond and share stories with one another.
I recall, as a boy, the end of the deer hunting day at my grandparents’ house. Grandma would make a big, hearty meal and the whole family would sit at the kitchen table to eat and share their experiences of the day.
Maybe you have similar memories of that special family time during deer season.
9. Connection to tradition
There are few traditions in America, especially in rural America, as longlasting and firmly rooted as deer hunting.
We hunters are links in a wonderful chain of experience, history and folklore. That’s pretty dang cool.
10. Connection to community
About the only event that comes close to deer season as a shared community experience is sports. When it’s football Sunday, even complete strangers recognize and smile at one another, because we’re all wearing our team’s colors.
It’s the same during deer season. Walk into any outdoor sports shop, gas station or diner during deer season. You will immediately recognize and share something in common with every other person wearing blaze orange.
It’s a beautiful thing.
11. Football season
Take everything I just said in #10 and multiply it.
I’d argue that whoever is responsible for such things did the world a kindness by scheduling deer season in the middle of football season.
Is there any better thing on the planet than deer hunting on a weekend morning, and then coming home or back to deer camp in the afternoon to gather around the television to watch your team play?
Deer hunting, football, a table full of food, friends and family…one of the best days of the year (especially if your team wins).
My word, is venison not simply delicious?! ‘Nuf said!
13. Knife handles and deerskin gloves
Where I live you can turn in your deerhide to a meat or hide processing business and in return they will give you a pair of beautiful, soft leather deerskin gloves.
They of course use the hide to make more gloves and leather products. I usually keep my deer hides for tanning and leatherwork, but those gloves are wonderful.
My granduncle was a knife maker and as he got older he once told me, “Nowadays I hunt for knife handles.”
That meant that he only took bucks with antlers stout enough to turn into knife handles. I like that philosophy, because it also meant that everything that could be used would be used, both at the dinner table and on a belt knife.
Of course antlers on the wall are wonderful too. That’s an equally good use for such beautiful objects.
14. Deer camp
Most deer camps have traditionally been the bailiwicks of men. But with more women joining the ranks as deer hunters than ever before, deer camp is bound to go through some changes, and it could be argued that those changes are for the better.
But for now, at least in my neck of the woods, deer camp is still largely a man’s “Fortress of Solitude.”
That being the case…beards, long johns, simple cooking, beer, cigars, cards and cribbage, bragging and one-upmanship, help field dressing and dragging, a sagging deer pole, plenty of good bathroom literature… What’s not to love?
15. Life lessons/fathers and sons
A child’s experiences and memories of deer hunting with his or her dad are some of the strongest and most cherished he/she will ever have.
We may have been just wee lads or lasses when our dads took us deer hunting, but it’s often the first time a youngster feels like he or she is a real part of the world of grown-ups.
Hunting also offers a father an opportunity to bond with his son or daughter like nothing else. Dads get to share their experience and passion, as well as some real fatherly pearls of wisdom in an environment that is highly conducive to teaching all sorts life lessons (some spoken, many simply observed).
16. The value of life
This one also connects to the one above but, I think, deserves special mention. We deer hunt for many reasons, but one inescapable goal is to hopefully kill an animal.
There are few instances in most children’s lives – and in adult lives, for that matter – where death is so integral to the project, and where we can express so honestly and directly our gratitude for the death of another living creature.
In my opinion, if we take away anything from a successful deer hunt, it ought to be gratitude and appreciation for life.
17. Mutual benefit (significant-other time)
The traditional scenario is that men would go off hunting, leaving their “deer hunting widows” to do their own thing for a week, in a sort of mutally agreeable arrangement.
The guys would hunt and have their “time with the boys” and the gals got to go shopping and have their “girl time.”
That seems like a pretty equitable arrangement.
But it is true, as mentioned earlier, that more women are deer hunters today than ever before. That is a very cool thing. Perhaps you are one of those awesome women who hunts and your significant other doesn’t.
There’s no reason that you can’t make the same kind of arrangement with your non-hunting partner. You get your time, and they get their time. A little absence does makes the heart grow fonder.
18. Deer hunting together is like dating, only better
Or you might also ignore everything I just said above, and convince your significant other to join you during deer season.
Of course if that person is unfamiliar with hunting there are a whole lot of things that could make for some frustrating moments in the field. If that’s the case, it might be wise to break into deer hunting with some small game outings first, just to help the process go more smoothly.
I know a woman who is as hardcore a hunter and angler as any man. She didn’t start out that way though. Her husband was a hunter when they met. She wanted to share the experience with him and, as she put it, have twice the opportunity to fill their freezer.
It’s been great for the two of them, and they’ve created a ton of wonderful memories in their time together in the field.
Do you know how much art has been created because of deer hunting? I don’t know either, but I do know that it’s a lot!
Museum galleries around the world are filled with paintings of hunting scenes (not to mention those magnificent cave paintings from our earliest deer hunting ancestors).
Millions of words have been dedicated to the subject of hunting in novels, biographies, academic texts and poetry. Plays have been written and performed, movies and documentaries have been produced, and songs have been sung and recorded, all with hunting as the muse.
How cool is that?
20. Providing for our family
Recognizing the grandest cultural connection to hunting (above) we can also celebrate its value in the smallest building block of societal evolution – the family.
At its most fundamental, deer hunting is about providing for our families. It doesn’t get any more pure, essential or grand than that.
21. Deer hunting is right and fun
If it wasn’t fun and rewarding we wouldn’t do it. Fun is something, I think, that we hunters sometimes underplay as we come up against a segment of the modern world to which hunting is foreign and “odd.”
That kind of thinking is a strange notion itself. That which was once understood to be as natural and righteous as gathering eggs or plucking apples from a tree is, to some, now seen as unnecessary and deplorable.
That small segment of people is wrong. Theirs is the foreign and odd belief. Hunting is natural and righteous, and it is, still, necessary.
It is also fun. A whole lot of fun.